A Dandy Lion

I have talked about and moaned over getting a tattoo for almost 30 years. Back then it was a way more risky proposition. My dad and my grandfather would not have been happy. (not that I would have had one any place they could see it back then).

I was going to have a magnolia blossom, aw snap, I can’t get a good white ink…Then No thank you.

I was going to do it when I turned 40….

Then 40 turned to 45…

and damn it before I turned 50…but then life got pretty messy and what I would have chosen then would not have been the best choice.

For the last 5 or so years I have been peculating on the idea of some kind of lion. Ya know, the Lion of Judah- Born Free- Not even thinking of Simba.  Ya know what else I didn’t even think of…Aslan (but thanks to my friend who asked if it was “obviously” a reference to Narnia-  Haha, as if I were THAT deep and retrospective).

Ever since I was a small child-I loved a lion, if not wanting to even be one when I grew up.

Then I saw a wild and holy tattoo and thought OH GIRL! I need that, for sure.

Wild.

and

Holy.

2019-11-17 00.04.45 (Copy)

My Lion.

from a childhood book, Lion and Blue.

2019-11-17 11.26.35 (Copy)

So, I thought, a lion with his mane as the petals of a yellow dandelion, like the cover of the book, but no mane at all, just petals.

Pinterest search after Pinterest search- and about 50 doodles (which it appears I threw away once I handed the reins to the artist).

I also tossed around doing just dandelions and having the words wild and holy going up the stalk of the weed.

but Lord, y’all, explaining that one….

So, in the waiting and the planning and the evolving, my son got 2 tattoos, my sister, my brother in law and niece all got inked.

What, the What people?!?! Remember WILD, me over here, I am the rebel, the one to do the crazy thing.

Hold on one stinkin’ minute…

(or over a year)

then this summer, my niece came home with a lovely eagle/dove.

she told me I needed to have this woman do my tattoo, she was awesome.

she couldn’t say enough amazing things about Rachel.

so, I sent her an email.

explained my thoughts and she said…

“Oh friend, I don’t think so, are you open to me doing a design?”

YES, yes I am, because I can’t over think this one more minute.

she was booked until mid November when I talked to her, which worked out great because I was going to be in Nashville in MID NOVEMBER for a work gig!

I filled out her online form and waited.

and freaked out

and

waited.

Y’all, Rachel was in ISREAL until 6pm the day before I was to go to her house to get this tattoo.

I didn’t know what exactly I was getting until NOON the day I was getting the tattoo.

and you know what, I might have been a little freaked out by my lack of control of the situation.

But, it was ok.

Friday, November 15th at 3:45pm CST, I was inked.

2019-11-15 15.29.37 (Copy)

I am in love and I am already thinking about the next one.

2019-11-17 11.25.34 (Copy)

which, I hear is quite common.

Quit Already!

AdobeStock_111592803.jpegEarlier this week I posted the following on Facebook:

I have now stopped smoking for 13 years, 5 months, 1 week, 1 day, 4 hours, 17 minutes, 7 seconds.

That translates into 196,327 cigarettes NOT smoked, for a savings of $49,081.79!

At 5 minutes per cigarette I have increased my life expectancy by 1 year, 10 months, 1 week, 2 days, 16 hours, 35 minutes, 42 seconds.

And people had questions!

You hear all the time how hard it is to quit smoking.  Nicotine addiction being compared to an opioid addition-there isn’t any getting over it.  Excuse me, I call BS.  I smoked for close to 20 years.  I smoked A LOT.

I quit cold turkey.

Now, that isn’t to say I just to up one day and said “Damn these cancer sticks!” and never picked up another butt ever.

I planned and prepared.

So, here is my step by step plan for what I did and why I think it worked.
In preparation:

  1. I visited whyquit.com
    read. read a lot. read it all.
    knowledge is power.
  2. Set a quit date.
    -far enough into the future that you have plenty of time to tell yourself and EVERY ONE you know that is when you are doing it.  write it down. post it on social.
  3. Change your routine. (plan a vacay to coincide if possible)
    -i was out of town on vacation for a week when i quit.  i stopped smoking Christmas night and left the very next morning.  if you fly, you can’t smoke-consider flying FAR FAR away.
    -this helps trick your brain into not thinking about triggers- always smoking when you take a certain route to work, or eat.
    -being somewhere different and on vacation also removes day to day stress that can make you want to puff your head off.
  4. Write down your why-
    do you want to quit so you can walk with your honey and not get out of breath?
    do you want to see your babies or grand babies grow up?
    do you want non-gray dull skin?
    (no WHY is too petty or meaningless if it is important to YOU)
  5. Change your diet.
    i used to smoke with a Coke or beer.  i didn’t drink soda for about 5 years at all because of the possible trigger.  now i have one occasionally.  the association has been broken.
  6. Arrange to have your home thoroughly cleaned (if possible) while you are gone.
    if not possible, then clean as well as you can while still smoking but only smoke outside and leave loads of air freshener out when you are gone.

Quitting smokingTHE DAY BEFORE/OF:

  1. Buy loads of cigarettes.
    if you normally smoke 2 packs, buy 3
  2. Stock up on tooth picks, gum, mints and something to do with your hands, a fidget spinner or a stress ball.
  3. Make copies of your WHY(s) and post them everywhere (and keep one in your wallet)
  4. Smoke yourself sick.
    LITERALLY.
    a nicotine hangover is the WORST and you will feel like a wet sock on hot pavement for a good 30 hours when you wake up on your new day one.  (but you won’t want to smoke!)
  5. Stay up as late as you can (smoking yourself sick)
  6. Right before bed, take whatever cigs you have left and tear them up-shred them, put them in water so that you won’t even try to put those bad boys back together if you have a moment of weakness.
  7. While you are destroying all the tobacco pray (serious as snot about this part)-ask God (or whatever higher power) to remove your desire- help you with this issue, whatever you need to do, but be SERIOUS in your request.
    YOU HAVE GOT TO WANT IT.
  8. Take a long shower-scrub the fire out of your skin and your nails…lord clean up your fingers-scrub off all those nicotine stains!
  9. Wash and deep condition your hair.
  10. Brush your teeth, gums and tongue.
  11. Start your laundry with the last load of dirty smell smoke stained clothes.
  12. Go to sleep.
    get a good long sleep because when you wake up, you will be a non-smoker!

The Big Day- DAY ONE (and the ever after)

  1. Record your stats:
    https://whyquit.com/free-quit-smoking-meter-calculator.html
    (and keep track of them, it is good information to sprinkle on all your friends)
  2. Get out of town!
    or at least out of your normal routine.
  3. Be prepared for cravings and know that you only have to deal with REAL with drawl for 72 hours.
    anything after that is just your noodle tricking you.
    YOU ARE STRONGER than your noodle.
  4. Visit whyquit.com OFTEN
  5. If cravings hit, go for a walk.
    call a buddy.
    chew some gum.
  6. Pay attention to odd cravings.
    after I got over the initial nicotine/smoke craving, I would want things like chocolate or cinnamon.
    See this list– tobacco companies are sneaky bastards.
  7. Arm yourself with food knowledge:
    Here is a list of foods that contain nicotine (and they helped me with cravings)
  8. Drink water, loads and loads of water.
  9. Sleep
    on the beach is preferable, nothing like a good emotional salt air cleanse.
  10. Reduce stress as much as possible the first week or two.

AdobeStock_117765696.jpegAnd that is basically it.

  • 72 hours and then I am free. (hell, start a timer on your phone)
  • I am stronger than my addiction.
  • I am healthy.
  • I am a non smoker.

Do not be discouraged if you get a super nasty respiratory infection or your allergies are worse for the first season or so after you quit.  Your lungs are filtering.

Also, don’t be surprised if you suddenly have high blood pressure or another circulatory ailment- smoking suppressed healthy system function and a full reset takes time, just be patient.

DO NOT GIVE INTO THE MYTH that you WERE healthier SMOKING than not.
It is only a temporary truth.
Read this often.

I hope this helps.
let me know if you need any support or have any questions.

Techno Tithe

Y’all last Sunday at church they were talking about tithing, not like part of the sermon, the campus pastor (I go to a multi-campus church) was telling a story about when he started to tithe with direct deposit and how he felt funny, like people were giving him the side eye for not putting something in the bag (they use bags instead of offering plates).

I got all twitchy.

I can tech with the best of them.  Heck, some days my 24 year old son calls ME for help with his technology.

So, I GET how it works.
I just can’t. Or won’t.

It isn’t because I am scared of the pew mate side eye.  I am not worried about the safety of the online app.

Nope.
I need to feel it.
I need to go to the bank on Friday (before I pay for anything else)and get my cash for the week out and then take a portion of that cash and put it in the envelop and KNOW…

And, honestly, some weeks it is hard- to put that cash in the envelop and carry it all weekend to offer on Sunday.

This isn’t to say that I am not cheerful or thankful.  I am, but I also know myself.  I will sign up for an app and have an automatic deduction and never use it again.  But the things that are not automatic.

The conscious decisions.  Those are in the forefront of my mind.
They are deliberate, choices.

It gives me an opportunity to be thankful and acknowledge the creator of the universe.

Every time the subject comes up of “online giving” or automatic deductions I twitch a little.

I can’t afford to be automated.

 

Social Business Sense

AdobeStock_207614571.jpegExciting right!?!?!!

It is one of those things that if you thought about it for 5 minutes, you know what to post (or not), share and comment.  But, in this day-it seems that common sense has been pitched out the window with the baby, bath water and half our brains.

For years in my social media classes and training at work, I have mentioned that social media (and more specifically) Facebook, is like a cocktail party.  One does not run into a cocktail parting screaming about their latest listing, mortgage rate or “hot” real estate trend.  

At a party, you are social, you converse, you are cordial and definitely not a jerk or outspoken critic of anything (unless you don’t care if you never get asked back into that social circle).  Occasionally, the need may arise to say something, say, if a person is being overtly racist, sexist or a general evolved human. (as the exception, not the rule).

However, today, people post ANYTHING with out consideration to how their audience (friends list- or depending on your settings and SEO-the world in general) may feel.  Bogus cures for cancer, conspiracy theories, political memes and incredibly biased (to the left or right) articles that may or may not be factual.

We need to stop (myself included) and critically evaluate what we are posting and sharing-especially in the eyes of people checking out all our social profiles before they call us to establish a business relationship.

AdobeStock_194419575.jpeg

Ask yourself the following before you post, is it…
True?
Helpful?
Inspiring?
Necessary?
Kind?

Not sure?
You have a choice, you can throw caution to the wind and perhaps your business reputation.
You can do more research.
You can choose to move on and share something more uplifting.

Very few of us have jobs where what we say online will never have an impact on our business/livelihood.

I know it is easy to get caught up in the latest or funniest meme, but is it worth the fleeting moment when compared to long term damage to your reputation, trustworthiness and integrity?  Do a quick google on all the careers ruined by poor self control on social media.

In the real estate industry, most realtors are independent contractors so reputation management is a one on one personal branding issue.  But, I believe that consumers will base the abilities of their agent on what their social media says about them.

Does yours speak to your integrity? honesty? trustworthiness? eye for detail?

Consumers need to trust that the person they hire to help them with one of the largest financial decisions of their lives.  Posting articles that are easily researched as false, or mean spirited jokes may cost you financially, but, if no one tells you, will you ever know?

Back…

in the saddle.

in the swing.

from- I actually don’t even know where.

I noticed before yesterday, it had been a really long time since I posted, or even considered posting.

When I logged in to do write the “lying” post I had a draft from a great story that was 2 years old. I had started writing and I guess it got hard express the emotions or it was going to far off course and I never went back. I deleted it and it felt good.

Since last night I have had 3 topics come up that I didn’t want to tweet, insta or FB- because they were too layered. To much to say in 280 characters, a hash tagged image or not up for judge mental scrutiny that FB tends to bring these days.

Here I am, dusting off the rafters- chasing the dust bunnies out the door and looking for some tools to bring life back into this old blog shack.

Please, pull up a chair. Brew a cup and stay awhile.

Speaking the truth…

in Love.

Or these days, on facebook.

We all grew up hearing “thou shall not lie” is one of the big ten.  (here is a whole list if you need a refresher)– but when I was writing this, I realized that isn’t what Exodus 20:16 says.  It says, do not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Interesting-which leads you down the rabbit hole when a lawyer asked Christ, “who is my neighbor?” (and we got the great parable of The Good Samaritan.)

Oh law…everyone.  All y’all.

Here is an opinion on the 9th commandment that is very interesting. According to this, I can see how we easily shortened bearing false witness to not lying, because it is part of it, but not the whole.

1 Corinthians 13:11 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

In general, I think that the internet can make adults act like children.  As evidenced by some of the things we see posted on facebook everyday.

Falsehoods, not checked or verified and blindly posted and re-posted.  If you know me at all, it makes me crazy.  Because, to me, blindly posting an unverified internet meme or news article without reading, verifying or even considering the implications of what the act means.

What it means for you, if you identify as a Christian.
What it means for those you are posting about-ESPECIALLY, if it is false.

I don’t think for a moment that it is over stating “bearing false witness”.

I spend a fair amount of my social media time on reading some of the things people post, but MOST of my time, is actually googling did The President say this?  Does vinegar really kill cancer?  Is a kid still missing, did that man actually commit the crime suggested (or is it a disgruntled former mate-it happens.)

Re-posting a story about how someone was cured from cancer by drinking apple cider vinegar may prevent someone from seeking qualified medical care.

Forwarding missing kids who are no longer missing makes people numb to the kids who really are in danger.

Are those REALLY the hands of God in a cloud or is it Photoshop?
You may wonder, what does it matter…

Because, i personally believe, the Creator of the Universe can show His majesty at anytime and does not need someone to fake it for his holiness and presence to be known in the world today.  It cheapens what he is able to do.

Now,  I know that I am not perfect and it is not my intention to come across as such, because I know I have made loads of mistakes in my life and heck some of them even this week.

I also deeply feel that this is an important issue that we need to take seriously as kingdom builders and witnesses to our faith.

The next time I post more information on something you may have posted on facebook, my intent is speaking the truth in love, 2019 version.

 

 

If only a nap would help.

I wrote the following yesterday.  I didn’t post then because I thought I had more to say…Nope.

So here ya go…

***********
I am tired y’all.

Just so tired.

Emotionally-done.

I don’t feel much of anything but tired with a side of angry.

I have discovered, when I am stressed, eat and sleep.
Repeat.

We had another school shooting-16 or 19 depending on who’s numbers you believe.  And this time, in part it appears that a teenage boy got rejected (and possibly embarrassed by) a girl from school so, he did the only logical thing and killed her and anyone near her.  Killed 10, wounded 10 others including the school resource officer.

Ok, on this one, I will give all the gun rights people a break on the “it is a heart issue” because sure as heck looks like that doesn’t it.

Poor little Dimi had a heart hurt so he made sure everyone paid for it.  I long for the days when a woman (or young girl) can say, “I think you are a swell dude, but, No.” and the swell dude is mature enough to say OK, thank you for your honesty.

Instead of “No” and then she has look over her shoulder or worry about him thinking that “your mouth says no, but your body says yes baby.” And advancing anyway.  Or coming to school and KILLING her for not being attracted to him.  Seriously.

How often to men have this worry?
Seriously.  When?

And, right before I read that lovely little tidbit, I watched the video of Asia Argento, Italian Actress:  http://variety.com/2018/film/news/cannes-asia-argento-harvey-weinstein-1202816859/

This woman spoke her truth about her experience and what happened to her at that very festival when she was a young woman.  She got awkward silence as she spoke but at the end of her brief speech she got a roaring round of applause.

Speaking truth.

Or as Brene Brown calls it “speaking truth to bullshit.”

Because the way we treat each other is bullshit.

Also in the news yesterday was Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at the royal wedding.  He spoke of love.  No just marital love, but love as a force, a fire, power, love of God and love AS GOD.  Love has the power to change the world!

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/20/612798691/bishop-michael-currys-royal-wedding-sermon-full-text-of-the-power-of-love

As a follower of Christ.  Knowing we are all created in the image of God and we are COMMANDED to love one another-HOW, How as a church, a body of Christ who are commanded to LOVE ONE ANOTHER, can we allow our sisters and our children to be continually treated in this way?

618!

Forgive me Father for I have sinned.  I have not updated my blog in 618 days, or 1 year, 8 months, 10 days.
Technological Jesus
Yeah, wow!
I am amazed I could even find my corner of the interwebs.

(also, I didn’t calculate that myself, I am the WORST at math, this awesome little bug did it for me: Duration Calculator)-I am also keeping that link, because Lord knows it will come in handy for a variety of uses!

Today I posted a huge ole thing on facebook (yeah, I haven’t ditched it)- and was reminded that I have another outlet for those musings…HERE!

 

I was pontificating about my day and how I need to stop eating wheat and sugar and this nasty itchy leggy thing I get when I have to much and how I really wanted the new frappuccino at Starbucks and all this other…stuff.

Not just that, I have invested in Kelly Rae Roberts “Hello Soul, Hello Business” group/class/life changing opportunity-not because I have some HUGE idea busting forth but that I have DESIRE to bust forth, just no idea.  (such is the life of a self medicating-with sugar-adult with ADD)-  so, the theme for march is- WRITING.  So, guess what…

WRITING goes here!
Also today had an email from Kelly (her awesome newsletter actually -scroll to the bottom to sign up) and she talked about how we frame our words and thoughts and it was a much needed message after I was a little less than gentle on myself yesterday. This also reinforced another text message I got from a super precious friend first thing this morning.

I got words y’all.
(feels good to be back)
All the words.

Flowerchild, Late Bloomer

I have written 5 blog posts in the past year.  2 of them about being “convicted” about tensions in this country.  I have wanted to post more but I let fear get in the way.

You can read both of them here- “Convicted” and “I am a Branch”

My friend Jackie said that she always felt that she should have been a child of the sixties.  I agreed with her sentiment.  I always felt like my place in time was the “summer of love” but I wasn’t even birthed yet…  She said that maybe that feeling was preparing her for what we are experiencing in this country now.

I think she may be right.

I am more prepared in so many ways.  Age and wisdom and all that.

I decided this weekend that if I have something to say, I am going to post it, or tweet it or whatever social media the fire out of it!  I can no longer be silent. I can no longer be afraid, especially of “what will people think”.

It doesn’t matter what people think.
It matters what is right.
It matters what is holy.

I am a Branch

This past weekend at Southeast Christian Church, Kyle Idleman spoke on John 15:5.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

You can watch the whole thing here- Be the Branch.

I know that when they planned this session, it wasn’t going to be about the events of this week-but Kyle tied it all together wonderfully.  We need to have compassion and sacrificial love for people.  ALL People.

Social media was buzzing with loads of messages, some positive, some grossly divisive.  As if you are not able to support those who serve and protect AND those marginalized at the same time.  My heart was breaking.

Brené Brown posted this on facebook and instagram-

I woke up this morning looking for someone to blame. Someone to hate. Someone who I could make the single target of my fear about the officers killed in Dallas and what happened to Alton Sterling and  Philando Castile. It was such a desperate feeling to want to discharge the uncertainty and scarcity. Then it dawned on me that this is the exact drive that fueled what’s happening right now.

Instead of feeling hurt we act out our hurt. Rather than acknowledging our pain, we inflict it on others. Neither hate nor blame will lead to the justice and peace that we all want – it will only move us further apart. But we can’t forget that hate and blame are seductive. Anger is easier than grief. Blame is easier than real accountability.  When we choose instant relief in the form of rage, we’re in many ways choosing permanent grief for the world.

Anger is easier than grief.
Blame is easier….
So true.  Trying to find single targets of our fear is a breeding ground for the unrest, anger and pain all around us.

I can’t begin to KNOW what it feels like to be subject to systematic racism.  But, I can try to understand.  I can allow my heart to be broken on their behalf and reach out in love and compassion to search for solutions and change.

This message is all around me this week.

My family is doing a bible study by Jefferson Bethke and this weeks video talked of what happens when we choose something other than God to Idolize.  When we think that Republicans are going to cure all this countries ills, Democrats become the demon.  When we root our identity in legalistic or fundamentalist thought, the opposite of that becomes the enemy.  It can happen with sports teams, it can happen with ANYTHING.

When we are focused on God and rooted in him, SIN is the enemy.  NOT people.

As Christians,we are called to LOVE God and LOVE People.

Friday morning, I went to work broken.  I couldn’t open my mouth with out weeping.  I was thinking about how the black community felt, how the policemen and their families felt, all the pain, YEARS of pain.  Anger boiling over, down the streets and I just wept.

One of my coworkers told me to get over it.  Feeling that way wasn’t going to do anyone any good.  I believed her-for a moment.

Until Sunday morning hearing the words in church-“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

As long as I am rooted in Christ, I can be strong AND compassionate.  I can have empathy AND enact change.  I can feel and not be afraid.

I am a branch.